Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools

Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools

by Linda S. Levstik, Keith C. Barton


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Doing History: Investigating With Children in Elementary and Middle Schools, Third Edition offers a unique perspective on history instruction in the elementary and middle grades. Through case studies of teachers and students in diverse classrooms and from diverse backgrounds, the text shows children engaging in authentic historical investigations, often in the context of an integrated social studies curriculum.

The authors begin with the assumption that children can engage in valid forms of historical inquiry-collecting and analyzing data, examining the perspectives of people in the past, considering multiple interpretations, and creating evidence-based historical accounts. Vignettes in each chapter show communities of teachers and students doing history in environments rich in literature, art, writing, discussion, and debate. Teachers and students are shown working together to frame and investigate meaningful historical questions. Students write personal and family histories, analyze primary and secondary sources, examine artifacts, conduct interviews, and create interpretations through drama, narrative, and the arts.

The grounding of this book in contemporary sociocultural theory and research makes it particularly useful as a social studies methods text. In each chapter, the authors explain how the teaching demonstrated in the vignettes reflects basic principles of contemporary learning theory; thus they not only provide specific examples of successful activities, but place them in a theoretical context that allows teachers to adapt and apply them in a wide variety of settings.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780415737326
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 02/27/2015
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 222
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Linda S. Levstik is Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Kentucky, USA.

Keith C. Barton is Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Adjunct Professor of History at Indiana University, USA.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1Past, Present, and Future: The Sociocultural Context for Studying History1
History Involves Multiple Activities and Purposes2
History Helps Us Picture Possible Futures3
History Is About Significant Themes and Questions4
History Is Interpretive4
History Is Explained Through Narratives6
History Is More Than Politics7
History Is Controversial8
The Goal of History Education9
Chapter 2It's Not Just a Mishap: The Theory Behind Disciplined Inquiry13
Teaching and Learning Must Have Purpose14
Learning Means In-Depth Understanding15
Instruction Must Build on Students' Prior Knowledge17
People Learn Through Disciplined Inquiry18
Teaching Means Scaffolding20
Constructive Assessment22
Chapter 3There Aren't a Lot of "For Sure" Facts: Building Communities of Historical Inquiry25
Talking Historically27
The Importance of Questions30
Prior Knowledge31
Imaginative Entry32
Reflection and Assessment33
Children's and Adolescent Literature35
Chapter 4To Find Out Things We Didn't Know About Ourselves: Personal Histories37
Asking Historical Questions38
Collecting Historical Information38
Drawing Conclusions and Reflecting on Learning40
Assessing Students' Learning42
The "History of Me" in the Context of Diversity45
Children's and Adolescent Literature49
Chapter 5Tell Me About Yourself: Linking Children to the Past Through Family Histories51
Connecting Students to Important Historical Themes52
Imaginative Entry: Personalizing History53
Collecting and Interpreting Information54
Assessment and Feedback56
Linking Students to Larger Narratives58
Family History in the Context of Diversity59
Children's and Adolescent Literature63
Chapter 6I Think Columbus Went to Hell!: Initiating Inquiry Into World History67
Start Locally, Connect Globally69
Start Globally, Connect Locally70
Scaffolding Inquiry Into Distant Times and Places71
The Persistence of Historical Myths82
Assessing History Outcomes83
Children's and Adolescent Literature85
Chapter 7Rats in the Hospital: Creating a History Museum87
Imaginative Entry88
Turning Interest Into Researchable Questions90
Finding the Answers to Questions92
Reaching Conclusions94
Assessment and Self-regulated Learning96
Developing an Understanding of Time and Chronology97
Children's and Adolescent Literature102
Chapter 8I Have No Experience With This!: Historical Inquiry in an Integrated Social Studies Setting105
All Questions Are Not Created Equal: Moving Beyond the Superficial107
Flexibility Is Essential: Building on Student Discoveries109
Maintaining Focus111
Now, What Does it Mean?112
Time for Reflection and Assessment115
Children's and Adolescent Literature117
Chapter 9Why Isn't That in the Textbook?: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Historical Thinking119
Selecting Good Narrative History123
"I Did Not Panic": Creating Historical Narratives128
Analyzing Student's Historical Narratives131
Children's and Adolescent Literature134
Chapter 10Oh, Good! We Get to Argue: Putting Conflict in Context135
Let's Talk: Preparing for Reasoned Discussion137
It's Happening Right Now: Starting With Current Events139
What If? It Could Have Been Different143
It Isn't Finished Yet: You Can Make a Difference145
Assessing Conflict in Context145
Children's and Adolescent Literature148
Chapter 11In My Opinion, It Could Happen Again: How Attitudes and Beliefs Have Changed Over Time149
Changes in Names150
Changes in Social Relations153
Salem Witch Trials158
Long-term Assessment of Historical Skills160
Children's and Adolescent Literature163
Chapter 12Nosotros La Gente: Diverse Perspectives in American History167
People in American History169
Using Literature and Primary Sources to Understand People170
Diversity in American History172
Building on What Students Know174
Scaffolding Students' Understanding177
Assessing Students' Knowledge of Historical Content179
Children's and Adolescent Literature185
Chapter 13The Arts Make Us All Part of Humankind: Cognitive Pluralism in History Teaching and Learning187
The Arts Address Significant Historical Questions190
The Arts as Source Material for Historical Study191
Imagining in Your Mind: Learning to Read the Historic Arts196
The Arts as Vehicles for Expressing Historical Understanding199
The Arts as Problem Solving200
The Arts as Intellectual Risk Taking201
Assessment and the Arts203
Children's and Adolescent Literature206

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